In my view there is nothing wrong with saying ‘hey Google, these pages are not important from a search engine perspective, let me not give them so much weight’. Regardless of how Google now views these type of pages from a weight perspective, doing the above as a webmaster should be logical and encouraged. You have said this yourself at least a few times in the past.

Despite this many people seem to get it wrong! In particular “Chris Ridings of” has written a paper entitled “PageRank Explained: Everything you’ve always wanted to know about PageRank”, pointed to by many people, that contains a fundamental mistake early on in the explanation! Unfortunately this means some of the recommendations in the paper are not quite accurate.
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“Even when I joined the company in 2000, Google was doing more sophisticated link computation than you would observe from the classic PageRank papers. If you believe that Google stopped innovating in link analysis, that’s a flawed assumption. Although we still refer to it as PageRank, Google’s ability to compute reputation based on links has advanced considerably over the years.”
Yep, please change things to stop keyword stuffing. Change them to stop cloaking. Definately change them to stop buying links that try to game Google. But, telling search engines to not give weight (that I control) to pages that are not what my site is about or are not really relevant. No way. This is logical stuff here. Maybe too logical. I think deep down you know this Matt too.
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Also hadn’t thought about decreasing the rank value based on the spammyness of sites a page is linking into. My guess on how to do it would be determining the spammyness of individual pages based on multiple page and site factors, then some type of reverse pagerank calcuation starting with the those bad scores, then overlaying that on top of the “good” pagerank calculation as a penalty. This is another thing which would be interesting to play around with in the Nutch algorithm.
With this change, I can still get the $4 if I simply don’t allow comments. Or I show comments, but I use an iframe, so that the comment actually reside on a different page. In either case, I’m encouraged to reduce the number of links rather than let them be on the page period, nofollow regardless. If I’m worried my page won’t seem “natural” enough to Google without them, maybe I allow 5 comments through and lock them down after that.
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Adjusting how Google treats nofollows is clearly a major shift (as the frenzy in the SEO community has demonstrated). So, if Google were to adjust how they treat nofollows they would need to phase it in gradually. I believe this latest (whether in 2008 or 2009) change is simply a move in the direction of greater changes to come regarding nofollow. It is the logical first step.
In an effort to manually control the flow of PageRank among pages within a website, many webmasters practice what is known as PageRank Sculpting[65]—which is the act of strategically placing the nofollow attribute on certain internal links of a website in order to funnel PageRank towards those pages the webmaster deemed most important. This tactic has been used since the inception of the nofollow attribute, but may no longer be effective since Google announced that blocking PageRank transfer with nofollow does not redirect that PageRank to other links.[66]

But I also don’t wanna lose PageRank on every comment with a link… If I can give PageRank and lose none, I wanna let the comment there, even without nofollow. But if I lose PageRank on every link, even inside original post, EVEN MORE if nofollow also takes PageRank out of me, I may just start using JavaScript or simple text without anchor for links… I definetely don’t like this idea, but I dislike even more losing PageRank on each outlink on my site. I’d just link top quality sites that I actively wanna vote for Search Engines.

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PageRank was developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford. In fact the name. PageRank is a likely play on Larry Page's name. At the time that Page and Brin met, early search engines typically linked to pages that had the highest keyword density, which meant people could game the system by repeating the same phrase over and over to attract higher search page results. Sometimes web designers would even put hidden text on pages to repeat phrases.